Decatur Heritage turns to Bo Solley at quarterback

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Who: Decatur Heritage

Coach: Nikita Stover, 1st season

Last season: 10-3 overall, 7-0 in Class 1A, Region 8

Aug. 19 at Section
Aug. 26 vs. Carbon Hill
Sept. 2 at Valley Head*
Sept. 9 vs. Coosa Christian*
Sept. 16 at Cedar Bluff*
Sept. 23 vs. New Hope
Sept. 30 vs. Appalachian*
Oct. 7 at Woodville*
Oct. 14 at Gaylesville*
Oct. 21 Open
Oct. 27 at Colbert Heights

*region games

Home games played at West Morgan

Being the next starting quarterback at Decatur Heritage after Brayden Kyle was never going to be an easy situation.

Kyle was the Class 1A Back of the Year in Alabama for two straight seasons. He led the Eagles to a combined 19-6 record with two region championships. Last season, he accounted for 70 touchdowns and 4,405 yards of offense.

Now, it's Bo Solley's turn to take over the quarterback duties for the Eagles this season.

“BK and I talked about this a lot last year,” Solley said. “I was the starting running back, but I was also the backup quarterback in case anything happened to him. Thank goodness it never did.

“The first thing people need to understand is that we are two completely different (players). We aren’t the same size. We have different skill sets and the way we lead is different.”

Kyle, who is now at UNA, is 6-foot-3, 220 pounds. Solley comes in at 5-9, 165 pounds. Kyle has a strong throwing arm. Solley can sling it pretty good, too. Maybe not like Kyle, but Solley did pitch and play third base for the school’s baseball team.

When it comes to leadership, Kyle did it with his play on the field and his words to teammates. Solley admits leadership is one of the areas where he has worked to improve.

“I know our coaches are going to have me prepared to play my position,” Solley said. “It’s up to me to become the leader that this team needs.”

Solley is relying on past experiences to help him through the transition this season. He was a starting guard on the school’s basketball team that went to the Class 1A state finals last season. Then he helped the baseball team advance to the Class 2A championship series. That’s two pretty big stages.

Nikita Stover is the new head coach at Decatur Heritage. He replaces Steve Meek, who has retired after 11 seasons, 86 wins and four region championships. Following Meek and Kyle out the door was a senior class with plenty of talent, including four other All-State players besides Kyle.

“Bo Solley just has to be Bo Solley,” Stover said. “We don’t need him to try and be another Brayden Kyle. He’s talented enough to be our quarterback and be a great leader for a young team.”

Decatur Heritage has just six seniors on the roster this season. The Eagles will be playing a number of eighth graders and freshmen this season.

“It’s not just a new quarterback for us this season,” Stover said. “We are going to have a lot of new faces on the varsity this season. That’s why we are fortunate to have a senior like Bo to be our quarterback.”

The youthful Eagles will be tested by a tough non-region schedule against 2A Section, 3A Carbon Hill, 4A New Hope and 3A Colbert Heights.

“I’m excited about the schedule,” Solley said. “If the young players come along like I think they will, we have a chance to surprise a lot of people.”